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What I learn from a lukewarm bath

Think Wim Hof Think Wim Hof I whisper as I brace myself for the second lukewarm bath of the week. Four years of living with a defunct boiler system and I was used to, hell perhaps even dependent upon the dissatisfaction of a lukewarm bath.

Like how despite the recent thud of the ‘can we talk’ text, you still shave your…legs ignoring the warning influx of bile to your mouth as precursor to the fact that you’re en route for yet another “I’m just really not in a good place right now, I just need to focus on myself.’

My willingness to hope for something hot (read re-creating South London’s answer to the Szechenvi Bath’s minus the semen from the summer parties), wavered not.

Let me paint the picture. I had the bath shelf adorned with orange CBD spiked Robinsons, a small glass of wine, a fiction, a non-fiction, and last Week’s The Week. To the left was my iPad balanced with precarious meticulosity on the closed toilet seat, and on the sink turned face down and on flight mode was my phone, primed with two podcasts and Radio 1 relax. I won’t go into how many Tiger tea lights surrounded the bath, but it would give you an understanding of why the algorithm behind Tay Tay’s candlelit concert IG ads have my number.

You see, I was not going to simply relax in this bath. I was going to consume it. Be born again a new woman, coddled in my liquid cocoon away from brash overhead lights and trite conversation. My brain and body would be so soothed and stimulated in my personal amniotic flotation tank that no amount of hamster wheeling could tarnish my wise and all-knowing post bath glow.

“God your skin looks incredible!” They’ll say and I’ll just smile and nod my big zen head full of factoids and inspiration that I won’t feel the need to share - because I’m not one of those people. This was not ammunition to fuel polite discourse or dinner table conversation. It was for me and me alone. And though I know my dreams will soon be sunk to tepid reality, I light the Jo Malone candle that I’ve saved since Christmas anyway.

Come to think of it I’m not even sure I would like a hot bath. Spend too long in here and I’d start to count the tiny hairs on the bathroom floor, notice the grouting that could do with being filled, that I still haven’t taken my shampoo bottle to the recycling - I must get into shampoo bars I must.

In a lukewarm bath you don’t have time to luxuriate in a herbal essences style ‘YES YES YES’ of hair wanking but instead a quick dunk under the water and a silent scream of bubbled rage. Revel in a hot bath too long and you’ll soon be faced by the dilemma of whether it’s acceptable to bathe in your own piss; on this occasion I should have done myself a favour, it would have been warmer and probably fuller too considering how much sugar free orange squash I drink.

Yes, to the untrained eye I am currently blinking back tears whilst my actually fairly ample bosom protrudes over the menial quantity of water enough to show that I have a very long hair on my nipple - but it’s not the bath, it’s really not the bath. The bath is just taking the brunt for the current circus I am trying to navigate in my brain.

That’s when the self soothing kicks in. Inhale - I am earning my keep through through writing. Exhale - I pay my bills with money made from electrochemical reactions in my brain. Inhale - I am economically independent enough to blow my hard earned cash on nights out in Soho with the receipt of anxiety the next day to show for whether I snogged my best friend, ate my flatmates hummus, or committed some other minor atrocity that my anxious brain likes to convince me of.

Yes okay things might be not be fabulous I think as I fill my belly button with water, but come to think of it they could be a lot lot worse.

‘Gosh that was quick’ my flatmate says as I trot out more pale and wan than when you went in. ‘Shall I boil the kettle and you can get back in?” “Maybe next time” I smile, and scurry shivering into the kitchen to the welcome applause of the oven timer! This would not have been the case in a hot bath. Linda McCartney’s would have been well and truly burnt. Wrap myself up in my Primark robe, and before I have time to wonder how it has soy sauce on the sleeves, I get my jade roller out, plonk myself in the egg chair and think, well maybe it’s not so bad after all.

Tomorrow I shall have a midday bath and tomorrow it shall be hot! And I sleep peacefully with the thought that tomorrow I shall be steaming in suds. Tomorrow I will be lathered and loved. Tomorrow I will be princess Margaret! And I know it won’t really happen, even if I finally sort the boiler out, I will just never be the sort to relax in the tub… or maybe anywhere for that matter.

I’ll never be the person to go to a restaurant without checking the menu first, find anything other than anxiety in a mediative colouring book or get through The Week in a Week, instead scrambling to keep on top of my subscription before the next issues slides through the letter box - yet another self-inflicted reminder of the eternal rat race that is… well life. “Just off for bath - I think it’s going to be quite crap,” just doesn’t sound right though, does it? So, I’ll continue with the preparation, the best made plans, the hope. That this time, things just might work out.


A bit about Miranda:

Miranda is a queer writer, filmmaker and actor whose work explores our relationship towards appetite and desire. Growing up consumed by glossy magazines, she fuses social discourse alongside historical and natural references to create work that articulates our connection to others in a way that she hopes is specific and accessible. Her poetry can be found published internationally across various zines as well as on her poetry instagram account @thirstypoems. Her first self written film Confessional was awarded funding by Genera, premiering at BAFTA qualifying Underwire Festival, and her magical realism short Saltcoats wrapped production this year. She is currently writing a series about queer female friendship.

Follow her @mirandaghorn

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